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Make Tough Choices. Then We'll Scold You for Them.

The pundits scold politicians who don't make the tough choices. But when the politicians do make the tough choices, the pundits scold those politicians for losing elections. Jonathan Chait made that point on Wednesday, after reading a column about President Obama and the pundits' recent blistering of him. A few hours later, the Bowles-Simpson deficit commission made its recommendations, and Kevin Drum saw the same pattern at work:

The president's deficit commission just produced a draft report (about which more later), and once again beltway pundits are going to lap it up. Why? Because it Tells Hard Truths and Attacks Sacred Cows. It also proposes a bunch of stuff that will be stupendously unpopular. Somehow, though, Obama will once again be expected to endorse a bunch of unpopular stuff without becoming unpopular himself. Because if that happens, it will somehow represent the reaction of honest heartland workers who want to hear a president who cares, not one who spouts percentages of GDP and healthcare inflation rates. The fact that he didn't listen to what they wanted — which is always the same: more spending, lower taxes, and a smaller deficit — will, as usual, represent a failure to connect with Real America. Funny how that always seems to be the verdict on Democratic presidents.